Last week, at the close of a virtual global conference we facilitated for a client, something beautiful happened. Before that, participants had spent two days building new relationships, having conversations that mattered, being inspired, and aligning around how to turn a shared vision into a local reality. As we approached the end, people were full, and armed with the new connections they had made. They were ready to say “goodbye and see you again soon.”
And then we asked participants to spend a few minutes to share some “positive gossip” about people they had met during the conference. Positive Gossip is a Liberating Structure in development which invites people to share something positive about the behavior or contributions of another person from a recent event or context.
We were overwhelmed with people’s sharing; small acts of kindness, humorous anecdotes, inspiring vignettes and ‘shout outs’ to people who had made a difference to someone over the two days. “Positive Gossip provided the framework for people to experience the warm and fuzzy feeling that you get at the end of a great conference – you know, the kind that makes you sad when it is over and you have to go home.
It was the bow on the ribbon that allowed people to be complete. And it served as a great reminder why we have conferences in the first place: to see and interact with colleagues we already know and to connect and make new relationships.
And that is every bit as important in a virtual world as it was in the old pre-2020 world where we got together in person.
What do you need to do to make your next virtual conference a connected one?